Author Topic: 90s US Round 6: Trust vs. Reservoir Dogs (Deadline: May 25)  (Read 13879 times)

pixote

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This matchup is open to anyone who can revisit the films and post a verdict by 11:59pm Hawaii time (GMT -9) on Monday, May 25.

If these two films end up tied at that deadline, ferris will then cast the tiebreaking verdict.

pixote
« Last Edit: May 22, 2009, 03:23:15 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

íKeith!

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Re: 90s US Round 6: Trust vs. Reservoir Dogs (Deadline: May 24)
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2009, 11:38:03 PM »
can I vote for this instead?


FLYmeatwad

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Re: 90s US Round 6: Trust vs. Reservoir Dogs (Deadline: May 24)
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2009, 11:02:45 PM »
Initial impressions and thoughts...

1. Introductions: RD starts off with a bang, the camera work is stunning, the dialogue is sharp and entertaining, and as a viewer even for the second time I was completely and totally sucked into the world and engaged in the film even before getting to that brilliant car scene. Similarly, the opening scene in Trust is greatly in line with the rest of the film, and it certainly packs a good deal of shock value and interest. Hard to say which one I prefer more or which works better in the context of each film, just that they are both top notch. I think I have a preference, but I'm going to sleep on it.

2. Progression: Reservoir Dogs has scenes on top of scenes that are a joy to watch for the action and for the plot, most of which work spectacularly and are, undeniably, iconic. The film spreads these scenes out enough to keep things going and interesting during the fairly lean run time. Trust, I do not think, has quite as many defining scenes, there are a number which stand out but for the most part everything carries along nicely with peaks every so often. The difference, I think, is that Reservoir Dogs, despite having so many noticeable high points, also has some fairly dull moments, specifically the elongated scenes between Eddie, Joe, and Roth's character. They are enjoyable enough, but they do not seem to add all that much to the film. The one that sticks out is the car ride when Roth exits his apartment and someone starts telling a joke. Conversely, Trust sputtered a little bit toward the end for a few minutes, but my level of engagement consistently grew as the film progressed and I think a few of the more memorable scenes, such as the bathroom cleaning, Maria's wreck of Matthew's apartment, the 'naive' train station scene, and the 'trust' scene, match some of Reservoir Dogs' highs.

3. Camera: Both demonstrate what I would consider to be a level of prowess, though they do so in completely different manners. QT does have some traditional framed shots, the speech practice from Roth's character being the big one, but his meandering and constantly moving camera is the most noticeable visual aspect of his direction. It works tremendously well in capturing the violence, but also in making the viewer engrossed in the world. I think I read in earlier verdicts about the camera being like another character, I would likely disagree with that statement on a surface level, but I need to read more into the case made for it before dismissing the notion. Trust is much more conventional in the camera work, but there's a noticeable beauty to just about all of Hartley's shots, and I cannot continue to mention how wonderful that sequence of Maria wrecking the apartment is shot, plus there is that really great scene with Maria's mother trapping her toward the end which is beautiful as well. As with the intros I do not know which worked better or which I preferred, I need to sleep on that, but I do think the level of craft in both films is impressive.

4. Performances: I don't think there's really a weak performance in any of the films, there are a few that border on decent, but that's about the lowest it gets. I may get into standouts when I post my final verdict tomorrow, but to keep things mostly short I will just say that I think the performances in both films were spectacular.

So I guess that's surface stuff. It's my second viewing of RD and my first of Trust. I enjoyed both films and I think I may have an idea of where I am headed with my verdict tomorrow, but I have so much I need to think about to make sure that I can likely say that it's still only about 60-40 in my mind, if that much. I think this is a brilliant match up and these films work incredibly well with each other. See everyone tomorrow.

pixote

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Re: 90s US Round 6: Trust vs. Reservoir Dogs (Deadline: May 24)
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2009, 11:43:52 PM »
Very nice start to this matchup.  Paragraph breaks for the win!  Numbered points for the bonus!

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

smirnoff

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Re: 90s US Round 6: Trust vs. Reservoir Dogs (Deadline: May 24)
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 11:49:27 PM »
Reservoir Dogs

What drives this movie? The first time through I was curious to see how it would end. The second time was the same, because I had forgotten the first time. This time, the third time, I knew what was going to happen every step of the way. So what drives this movie when you take curiosity out of the equation? For me, nothing. It was a forced experience. Sure there's a few thrills along the way, but what am I looking forward too? Everyone dies, nobody wins.

Some movies just make you feel good every time you watch 'em. Others keep you coming back because they reinforce a moral you like to... keep fresh. And still others might have characters that you enjoy watching, characters you admire and want to learn from. Some movies might have all of these things (like Bloodsport  :D) and so you can watch em again and again. Others, like Reservoir Dogs, might have none of these things. That made rewatching it rather miserable.

This takes mental toughness I suppose...
But so does this.
Do you dream of doing this one day?
Or this?

I'll still give RD the same 2 or 2.5 out of 4 as I did in round 5, but I'm tired of watching it now. Meanwhile Frank Dux is still rad  ;)


________________


Trust

A pleasant surprise. Surprising in that it wasn't weird at all, just really good! I made a point of trying to read as little as I could about this one before seeing it. Now that I've seen it, the only question I want answered is 'what's not to like?' I'll go back now and take a look at the criticisms. Whatever they are, obviously the good outweighs the bad because here it is in round 6. Any less and I probably never would've talked myself into seeing it.

I just loved the dialogue. As I was watching I kept catching myself trying to fill in what the characters would say next, but I never guessed right. That I became conscious of my doing it I think says a lot. This movie, like Brick or a Mamet picture keeps you on your toes. The story is no slouch either. I was genuinely interested.

Frankly I should really watch it again, because I'm quite sure I didn't pick up the full meaning of each scene and it's importance to the main story. For the purposes of vote casting though it doesn't matter because I know I liked it a lot, watching it again is just about learning why.

ps. Fly you sneaky devil, I thought I'd be first!  ;D

« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 11:53:14 PM by smirnoff »

pixote

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Re: 90s US Round 6: Trust vs. Reservoir Dogs (Deadline: May 24)
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2009, 12:31:22 AM »
omg, I'm totally voting for Bloodsport now.  I didn't even realize that was an option!

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

ferris

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Re: 90s US Round 6: Trust vs. Reservoir Dogs (Deadline: May 24)
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2009, 12:55:17 AM »

Trust

...I just loved the dialogue. As I was watching I kept catching myself trying to fill in what the characters would say next, but I never guessed right. That I became conscious of my doing it I think says a lot. This movie, like Brick or a Mamet picture keeps you on your toes...


Well said....I had that same experience...
"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" - Exodus 8:2 KJV
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philip918

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Re: 90s US Round 6: Trust vs. Reservoir Dogs (Deadline: May 24)
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009, 12:33:40 PM »
Wow, I thought Smirnoff was more of an action guy.  Very interesting...  This may be closer than I expected.
"If God gives you lemons find a new God."

smirnoff

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Re: 90s US Round 6: Trust vs. Reservoir Dogs (Deadline: May 24)
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2009, 01:20:51 PM »
Wow, I thought Smirnoff was more of an action guy.  Very interesting...  This may be closer than I expected.

Your right, I do often favour the action flicks. It's Tarantino. Sometimes his films rub me the wrong way.

FLYmeatwad

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Re: 90s US Round 6: Trust vs. Reservoir Dogs (Deadline: May 24)
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2009, 08:12:48 PM »
Reservoir Dogs - The opening scene for this film is pretty fantastic. QT sets up his dialogue wonderfully, allows his camera to roam freely, and pretty much lets the viewer know what world is being created. From that point on the film proves to be one fun ride marked by some wonderful scenes and what I consider to be a pretty damn great soundtrack. I've watched the film before so I knew where we were headed, mostly, some things left my mind at first but as I watched again they did come back almost completely. I did see things a little differently this time though considering I've had more exposure to film and I like to think that as a viewer I have at least grown a little bit. I do think that QT displays a great level of prowess with his camera and I do think that it really adds to the film. The director demands that you become invested personally, evidenced in the more natural shots that I wrote about earlier, but he also makes sure to put the audience at a distance, as shown by the more traditional shots, like the one with Roth pacing back and forth in his apartment.

The performances are really great, the stand out though, clearly, is Steve Buscemi. He's funny, he's serious, he's neurotic, and he gives what seems to be the most believable performance of anyone in the sense that I can imagine that any sane criminal in his position would act the same way. Madsen is also pretty great, though he strays away from the whole traditonal character thing, but maybe he's not supposed to be a character. roujin said he didn't see the people in the film as characters and while I didn't follow that up, I didn't want any outside influence swaying my viewing, I can kind of see that, but I still think that QT invites, at too many times, the personal aspect, that he seems to want these characters all real and fleshed out.

The problem, I think, is that not too much is fleshed out. I like the choice to not show the robbery, I think that works, and the tension in the film is pretty damn high, but as far as characters go I think that most of the offerings are pretty weak. We get development from Mr. White, I guess, but that's about it, everyone else is stagnant. Now I think it's a testament to the writing that, even as flat characters I still seemed to have an idea of who the primary figures 'are,' and they are usually entertaining, but I think this weakness is exposed during some of the flashbacks. When Madsen's character is clowning around with Eddie or Roth is talking about the infiltration, it's fun to watch, but it carries on so long that you really begin to realize that some of these characters are hollow. And then there's the whole car ride from Roth's apartment with Mr. Pink, Eddie, and White where the whole scene drags on and feels unnecessary. The film has noticeable lows, but the highs are so high, that torture scene is so God damn great, that I continue to enjoy the film and really can recommend it to just about anyone who is even remotely interested in this genre.

Trust - First Hal Hartley film for me, and like Reservoir Dogs this film starts out with a bang. Marked by very professional directing, that free camera does not exist here as each shot Hartley shows to the viewer seems to be carefully planned and masterfully executed, the film is pretty much a technical powerhouse. Particularly impressive is the attention to little details that Hartley seems to have packed into the film. While my memory of 1990 is at a loss thanks to what I have been told is infantile amnesia, the characters really seemed to mark that transition from the 80's to the 90's wonderfully. Visually I think it worked really well, at least i really enjoyed it. The symbolism worked considerably better though and I can actually tackle that and apply meaning to some of the things that Hartley did. The glasses thing was a little too much, but the choice to have the Maria character in Matthew's mother's dress was great and helped bring out something subtle to reinforce their relationship and make it more believable. Plus that scene where Maria has Matthew's apartment practically fall down around her is absolutely genius, it really works symbolically and showcases the pitch perfect direction.

Performances are all great, I cannot say that one stands out as better than any of the others, though I really did enjoy Matthew and Maria, because the supporters are so damn fantastic. Maria's mother is great, Matthew's father is terrific, and that one football player is so great. I think I enjoyed the complex narrative, on a base level the story is fairly simplistic, but it seems fairly obvious that Hartley does not want the film to be taken at a surface level. That scene early on with the baby being taken should be enough of an indicator that Hartley is commenting on social aspects of marriage and, I believe, the American experience, but then you mix in the whole hand grenade element and the thesaurus thing and the film begins to scream "Look deeper!" Thankfully I think the film does work at a deeper level, giving it an artistic quality that is pretty damn impressive. When I say that the film works at a deeper level I mean to say that it deals with complex themes that are, mostly, applicable to people as a whole. The romance aspect isn't even what I mean to drive at, the film also tackles isolation and the transitional period from child to adult wonderfully. I don't know, I may just be a bit naive. Oh yeah, speaking of knaves, the humor works incredibly well.

Ultimately, that scene of everything breaking really works to sum up the film as a whole. The film doesn't really take any turns, even less than Reservoir Dogs, but it still remains incredibly engrossing for some reason despite knowing how it's going to end. Two common comparisons come to mind. Some experiences are called dreamlike or surreal, and I think that can make for an engaging film and is part of the reason why this works, it takes reality and heightens it so high that it almost becomes surreal, but it does not. The other is a car crash, it's commonly said that people only watch things like NASCAR for the crashes, and when driving traffic jams seems to happen because people just can't help but looking over when a crash happens, and that crash happens in the first scene of the film and remains present throughout. These two descriptions though are not usually combined, but I think this film blends them beautifully, and that is where I think the film's genius is really found. It has highs, but not huge ones, but the film is so consistently engaging for so many reasons that I cannot help but call Trust a great film.